Arts in Education—Model Development and Dissemination Grants Program

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2005 Awards

Fourteen (14) new awards were made in FY 2005. These grants support the further development, implementation and expansion of standards-based arts education programs and the integration of arts instruction into the core curriculum. Grants were awarded to both local educational agencies (LEAs) and nonprofit arts organizations that work in partnership with LEAs.

Grantee Name: Fairbanks North Star Borough School District
Project Address: 520 Fifth Avenue
Fairbanks, Alaska 99701-4756
Project Director: Barbara Short
(617) 635-9278

Project Articulate is an Alaskan partnership between the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District (FNSBSD) and the Alaska Arts Education Consortium (AAEC). FNSBSD has a time-tested comprehensive Art Program, segments of which are to be developed and then disseminated by AAEC. The project is based on our belief that the successful FNSBSD arts program supports national research that the arts can play a critical role in the academic development of all students.

There are two goals for Project Articulate:

  • Upgrading 96 kindergarten through eighth grade Arts Kits to include relevant Alaska Grade Level Academic Expectation and reformatting to place on the Web;
  • Providing professional development to 114 teachers in eight school districts, through Summer Institutes and follow-up training, in teaching the arts in elementary and middle schools and using project resources to increase student success in arts and core academic subjects;
  • Employing a scientifically-based evaluation model to gauge effectiveness of various project practices and to determine if expected outcomes were achieved; and
  • Disseminating of annual reports and final data at the state and national level.

The FNSBSD Art Program has over 20 years of art education and materials development experience. AAEC has a strong history of providing professional development to arts educators and other classroom teachers through summer institutes and special trainings. These organizations have in place highly experienced and knowledgeable leaders who have a proven record in Alaska of high expectations, successfully presenting quality professional development, and proven compatibility with teachers and school administrators.

The Fairbanks school district is a large urban district and seeks to share its knowledge and resources with other schools throughout Alaska. Five of the eight project districts serve small, isolated villages whose only access is by airplane or snowmobile. These districts represent underserved populations, largely Alaska native origin, and they especially are struggling to meet the high academic expectations of No Child Left Behind.

Responding to the call for more visual arts research from the Critical Links Compendium (2002), Project Articulate will use an experimental design and random assignment of participants to determine the project's effectiveness. The outcomes- linked to goals- measured by evaluation include student academic improvement, student knowledge of and skills in arts, teacher appreciation of the arts and degree of use within the classroom.

Grantee Name: Los Angeles Unified School District #4
Project Address: 4201 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, California 90010-3601
Project Director: Beth Tishler
(213) 627-9621

The three-year Arts in the Middle (AIM) Project is a project of Los Angeles Unified School District 4 (District 4) working in partnership with Inner-City Arts, a non-profit organization providing arts learning services to students of the LAUSD, and the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Graduate School of Education and Information Sciences. The Project will make for the expansion and rigorous evaluation of an innovative, cohesive model for delivery of arts-based instruction to remedial grade six English learners. The Project's strategy will extend community resources to under-resourced urban middle schools in order to supply standards-based arts education otherwise unavailable within the school that is effective in improving academic performance among English learners by integrating standards-based arts education within the core Language Arts curricula of grade six students via a specialized, inter-disciplinary Language Arts/ Drama instructional program fostering improved ELD levels and art skills among remedial English learners; strengthening the place of the arts as a core subject in grade six within urban public middle schools that otherwise lack resources to provide instruction in the arts; and improving student English Language Development (ELD) levels and art skills as related to national and state standards for education in the arts.

The Project's target population is District 4 remedial grade six students who are at extreme high risk of academic failure due to low levels of English Language Development (performing at ELD level 3 or below). The goals and intended outcomes are improved ELD levels and art skills among grade six remedial English learners (1,080 Participants); rigorous evaluation of model suited to dissemination throughout District (three additional District 4 middle schools), as well as replication within other Districts of LAUSD; and documentation products, including: report on evaluative findings re model strategies and impact; innovative Grade 6 Inter-disciplinary curriculum (Language Arts/Drama); teacher guidebook on best practices for reaching English learners. The evaluation component will increase the amount of information on effective models for arts education that is nationally available, with attention to value of arts learning in reaching academically at-risk English learners; value of interdisciplinary Language Arts / Drama instruction in positively impacting ELD levels among remedial grade six English learners; value of core subject arts learning among academically at-risk students (measure of improved art skills, based on state/national grade level standards); and to foster improved instructional practices within under-performing schools.

Grantee Name: WebPlay
Project Address: 2801 Ocean Park Blvd. #343
Santa Monica, California 90405-2905
Project Director: Sydney M. Thornbury
(310) 440-4777

WebPlay is an online arts education project that enables elementary school children to create and produce plays in collaboration with a professional theatre company and partner with classes from different countries or regions. WebPlay integrates across the core curriculum and is aligned to California State Standards in Performing Arts, Literacy, Technology and Social Studies.

Working in partnership, WebPlay and Los Angeles Unified School District's Local District 4, the project's aim is to (1) enhance, expand and integrate the WebPlay model into 40 third and fifth grade classrooms located in the 20 lowest performing schools in Local District 4; (2) evaluate and disseminate information about the model's impact on improving academic performance and engagement in drama, literacy, technology and social studies, especially on low-income and at-risk students; and (3) support and enhance Local District 4's overall strategies for school improvement, focusing on teacher professional development, intervention programs and parent training. Expected outcomes are: (1) the WebPlay model will be successfully integrated into the core curriculum of 40 third and fifth grade classrooms; (2) the model will produce scientific-based evidence that WebPlay raises achievement and engagement in drama, literacy, technology and social studies; (3) evidence will show that WebPlay provides effective teacher professional development for integrating arts across the curriculum; (4) a documented best practice model for strengthening the arts as a core academic subject; (5) case studies for how WebPlay can support and enhance Local District 4's overall strategies for improving failing schools, and (6) a model which will contribute to ongoing development of research and policy on integrating the arts across core academic subjects. The targeted schools are located in economically disadvantaged areas of Los Angeles. Seventy percent to 100 percent of students are from low-income families, as indicated by participation in the free or reduced-price meal program, 50 percent to 95 percent of students are Latino, and 60 percent to 90 percent are English Language Learners. Most students lack basic skills with only nine percent to 24 percent scoring at or above proficient on the CST.

Grantee Name: Alliance Theatre Company
Project Address: 1280 Peachtree Street, NE
Atlanta, Georgia 30309-3502
Project Director: Kathryn Z. Straw
(404) 733-4614

The Georgia Wolf Trap/Alliance Theatre Institute for Educators of Atlanta, Georgia, a regional site for the National Wolf Trap Institute, has developed a successful model program in arts integration for young children aged three through five years. Scientific research assessing Georgia Wolf Trap's effectiveness shows that it produces significant improvements in emergent writing and in understanding emotional expressions, and program evaluations indicate that it introduces young children to the art of theatre. Therefore, Georgia Wolf Trap is positioned to respond simultaneously to the recent loss of arts education services in Fulton County (Atlanta, Georgia) and to address the needs of their low-income students at risk for academic failure. To do this, the project will enhance and expand the current program over the next three years.

The project will enhance the program by creating longer residencies with more opportunities for collaboration between classroom teachers and teaching artists and more arts-integrated learning experiences for students. The project will expand the program annually from its current of level of four classrooms at one school to include 61 preschool and kindergarten classrooms in eight schools in Fulton County over a three-year period. The project will also document the program in detail sufficient to allow others to follow it, will evaluate the program using the scientifically based method of random assignment, and will disseminate the results through conference presentations, publications, and posting documents and streaming video at strategic websites. The enriched model can guide other theatres for young people, arts agencies, school systems and other Wolf Trap Early Learning sites in the country that wish to serve young children through programs that significantly affect child development and academic achievement.

Over the three-year period, this project will serve approximately 1,220 preschool and kindergarten students, most from low-income families, each of whom will take part in at least 13 classroom drama experiences with a teaching artist and attend a play at the Alliance Theatre. The project will provide a total of 18,305 student contact hours of arts programming. The program features intensive professional development experiences for teaching artists, classroom teachers, and administrators, and it includes a workshop for parents. The program practices are linked to the new Georgia Performance Standards (including the framework of Understanding by Design), the National Standards for Theatre Education, and the Georgia Standards for Professional Learning adopted from the National Staff Development Council's Standards for Staff Development. An evaluation employing the experimental method will assess annual changes in children's language development, emotional understanding, academic performance and achievement in drama. The results will be used to refine and enhance the ongoing project.

Grantee Name: Chicago Public Schools, District 299
Project Address: 125 South Clark Street, 11th Floor
Chicago, Illinois 60603-5200
Project Director: Manuel J. Medina
(617) 553-1930

The Chicago Public Schools (CPS) in partnership with National-Louis University (NLU) will establish the Community Arts in Education project (CAIE). The project will implement, document, evaluate, and disseminate a cohesive model designed to strengthen standards-based education through professional development and arts integration into curricula for kindergartners through fifth graders, to improve achievement of at-risk students. It will be implemented in five low-income elementary schools in four Mexican-American neighborhoods of Chicago, impacting 45 teachers and 1,200 students. It has the following goals and components: (1) establish professional development programs in five schools in which teams of teachers (classroom, arts, media, and computer) collaborate with artists in integrating standards-based arts education into the kindergarten through fifth grade curriculum; (2) prepare a cohort of teachers across the schools to integrate folk arts dance, songs, stories, music and theater into the curriculum, and teach Mexican folk dances to students; and (3) create a district-wide professional development Arts Council to oversee and monitor the project, and to document and disseminate this model, the evaluation findings, and exemplary arts integration strategies throughout CPS with 450,000 students.

CAIE will demonstrate the importance of drawing upon folk arts, cultural resources in the community, and ethnic heritage of families, to deeply engage students in meaningful learning. That learning, informed by state and national standards, will increase motivation, stir the imagination, and connect classroom learning with life issues reflected in the culture and concerns of at-risk students. Research reveals the powerful impact of folk dance performances and art displays on student and parents, concluding that such performances are expressions of deep values and meanings, celebrations of community, and markings of significant events in the lives of people. The arts can help students tell stories of human experience, promote dialog and understanding, and transcend every day experiences. The project will coordinate with cultural organizations in Chicago such as American Baila: Folkdance Company of Chicago, Old Town School of Music, Freda Kahlo Community Organization, Baker Demonstration School and in Mexico with the National Institute of Research and Diffusion Mexican Folk Dance. The project will build school capacity, improve learning of at-risk students, develop a model arts integration intervention, scientifically evaluate the intervention, and disseminate the model for replication, adaptation and/or scaling up.

Grantee Name: Columbia College Chicago
Project Address: 600 S. Michigan Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60605
Project Director: David A. Flatley
(312) 344-8851

The Arts Integration Mentorship (AIM) Program addresses the need for innovative approaches to enable teachers to elevate academic performance—especially in reading— ensuring that all children learn basic life skills. Project AIM proposes that the arts may succeed where other efforts have failed to reform public school education and improve literacy, and it implements an arts integration literacy model that is highly sustainable and replicable. Supported by research showing that arts education, in particular arts-integration, is an effective means of ensuring equitable achievement in reading and writing across all demographic sectors, this program contends that arts-integration can only attain maximum success if it is the result of sustained, school-based infrastructure building and professional development that is incorporated into the culture of the school.

The Office of Community Arts Partnerships (OCAP) at Columbia College Chicago will administer and manage the initiative. The project will create one demonstration site, selected because of the quality and depth of work developed in conjunction with OCAP staff over the past several years, and replicate this work in two other Chicago school sites (one kindergarten through eighth grade school and one middle school) as well as two Evanston school sites (both kindergarten through eighth grade), for a total of approximately 750 students served in grades four through eight. The model involves intensive and extensive professional development of thirty teachers and twenty teaching artists (by year three), to include team-taught, arts integrated curricular units supporting classroom instruction. The objectives of the grant are to see measurable increases in student achievement through improvement of teacher practice. A quasi-experimental design will be implemented in an effort to determine the extent to which teaching, the model and its professional development components affect student performance. Finally, this project will be disseminated both locally and nationally so that it can be replicated in a variety of school settings because the project will be extensively documented and a wide variety of dissemination measures will be employed.

Grantee Name: Jackson Arts and Technology Academy
Project Address: 500 Griswald Street
Jackson, Michigan 49203
Project Director: Lezlie Bowles
(517) 796-0080

A consortium of Michigan charter schools will implement a fully integrated arts program for students in elementary and middle school through the Paragon Arts Model. Members of the Michigan Charter School Consortium including Bay County PSA, Bingham Arts Academy, Capital Academy, Jackson Arts & Technology, and Arts & Technology of Pontiac will provide students with a model arts program that integrates the arts into the daily curriculum. These five schools will serve kindergarten through eighth grade elementary and middle school populations with each school exceeding the recommended minimum percentage of students served from low-income families (35 percent) with an average free and reduced percentage of 67 percent. The majority of students from each school is at-risk as a result of low achievement scores and living in high poverty, disadvantaged communities.

The proposed program consists of implementing a common humanities curriculum, Paragon®, that integrates arts education into the daily core curriculum. This is further supported through intensive professional development in the arts that is generally reserved to teachers of Art, Music, and Drama. Each school has also developed a partnership with a non-profit arts organization, which will support the school's arts program through hands-on collaboration. The Model is designed to support students' appreciation of the arts while increasing academic development in the core subject areas.

The Michigan Charter School Consortium seeks to establish and maintain true partnerships with organizations such as the Council for Corporate and School Partnerships where the school and the arts organization work together to develop programs to help all students experience the arts. Partnerships with area organizations have been endorsed for years and having outside agencies can bring new and exciting ideas to the table, which will allow the community and school to grow. This program will also contract with WestEd, a nonprofit research, development, and service agency to provide an independent evaluation of the Paragon Arts Model.

This grant fund will enable all five schools to fully implement the Paragon Arts Model and ensure quality instruction both in the academic classroom and in the specialty arts classes. The purchase of materials and equipment to successfully teach the Paragon lessons, as well as the professional development regarding Paragon instruction and arts content knowledge and instruction will help this consortium to put into action a model integrated arts education program.

Grantee Name: The Children's Theatre Company and School
Project Address: 2400 Third Avenue South
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55404
Project Director: Gregory Smith
(612) 872-5117

Theatre arts integration can effectively increase student academic achievement in reading, writing, and oral expression, as well as enhance the critical literacy skills of inquiry and analysis required across academic disciplines. Yet among the four arts disciplines most commonly taught in elementary and middle schools, theatre arts enjoy the least amount of staffing and resources.

The Children's Theatre Company (CTC), the flagship children's theatre in the United States, has developed Neighborhood Bridges, a yearlong theatre arts curriculum for inner-city students in fourth, fifth, and sixth grades. Neighborhood Bridges incorporates storytelling, improvisation, theatre games, and writing exercises in weekly classroom sessions designed to address the needs of at-risk students. Collaboration between a teaching artist and the classroom teacher cultivated through weekly planning sessions and shared leadership creates an integrated, effective approach to teaching and learning and increases teachers' capacity to utilize theatre arts in other core content areas. Students who have participated in Neighborhood Bridges have demonstrated significant gains in reading and writing test scores.

CTC will evaluate the Neighborhood Bridges program and utilize results to further improve curriculum design; provide intensive training to teachers and teaching artists to expand the program; and disseminate the curriculum to a wide audience using effective communication tools. This will result in increased access to a research-based, yearlong, high-quality, innovative theatre arts curriculum for elementary and middle schools nationwide.

Grantee Name: Jersey City Public Schools
Project Address: 346 Claremont Avenue
Jersey City, New Jersey 07305-1634
Project Director: Nancy Healy
(201) 915-6043

Jersey City, the second largest city in New Jersey, is a densely populated urban community in Hudson County, NJ with a population of 240,055 (Census 2000). The City is marked with many community, family and school risk factors that put its youth at risk for poor academic achievement. The Jersey City School District is one of 30 NJ school districts to be designated by the state as at-risk [Abbott District] based on a variety of factors including poor academic performance, inadequate school facilities, and lower than state average per pupil spending. The Jersey City School District has been state-run since 1989, the longest running takeover of a failing system in the nation. Poverty, poor academic performance, high truancy and high dropout rates characterize Jersey City's public schools.

The Jersey City Board of Education is currently engaged in a district-wide effort to improve academic performance among the student population. To that end, Jersey City Board Public Schools (JCPS) proposes to partner with the Educational Arts Team (EAT) to improve teaching methods and increase learning for students through the implementation of the theater arts standards in seven low-performing elementary and middle schools. The project, Theater Arts Infusion, is designed to improve student and school performance and is grounded in state and national core curriculum content standards. Through the implementation of the Theater Arts Infusion program, a series of standards-based theater arts workshops and professional development workshops will be developed and implemented with select fourth and fifth grade students and teachers based on innovative methods and current research. Also the development and implementation of this project seeks to increase academic performance, particularly in the areas of oral and written language skills, as well as skills in creating, performing, and responding to the arts for 1,400 high-poverty, low-literacy students in Jersey City. Theater arts strategies and lesson plans will be infused into the language arts and social studies curriculum resulting in an Applied Lessons and Integrated Theater Arts Techniques Handbook and training materials to be used for replication and dissemination district-wide, statewide and nationally. The project will be evaluated utilizing scientific methods by an independent team of researchers, and findings will be documented and published to add to the growing body of evidence that points to the efficacy of the arts to improve academic performance.

Grantee Name: Education Through Music, Inc.
Project Address: 122 East 42nd Street, Suite 16220
New York, New York 10168-1622
Project Director: Katherine Damkohler
(212) 972-4788

Education Through Music, Inc. is a nonprofit organization that seeks to enhance at-risk students' academic performance and general development by promoting the use of music and other arts in inner city or otherwise disadvantaged elementary and middle schools. The model relies on quality music instruction, integrating content and cognitive thinking skills in music and other academic areas, ongoing professional development, evaluation, technology, and parent community involvement. Education Through Music is partnering with New York City public schools in Region 2, 8, and 9 through this project to enhance and expand their model, document and evaluate outcomes, and develop materials for dissemination. This project will serve eight elementary schools throughout New York including grade levels pre-kindergarten through six.

This project will:

1) Support student performance in music and other academics through integrated skills-based music instruction which will be a part of every student's core curriculum and integrated into a range of academic areas;
2) Refine ongoing professional development offerings;
3) Develop and improve methods and materials to help replicate and adapt the models; and
4) Scientifically validate the effectiveness of the model.

Grantee Name: The ArtsConnection, Inc.
Project Address: 520 Eighth Avenue, Suite 321
New York, New York 10018
Project Director: Carol Morgan
(212) 302-7433

ArtsConnection seeks funding for Developing English Language Literacy through the Arts (DELLTA). The project will serve students in grades three through five who are designated English Language Learners (ELL) to facilitate the development of skills, strategies and knowledge in theater and dance across cognitive, personal and social domains that will help them become more literate human beings. It will also facilitate communities of practice for teachers, artists and administrators within and across schools to co-construct knowledge about student learning in the arts and its influence on language development in ELL students to improve teaching practice.

The project will involve 600 ELL students in six NYC public schools with ethnically diverse populations and a high percentage of students living at or below the poverty line. It will also engage 24 ESL classroom teachers, six school administrators, six art specialists, and eight ArtsConnection teaching artists in a wide array of professional development and collaborative practitioner research. DELLTA will be based on ArtsConnection’s model of inquiry-based partnerships that has been proven effective in developing language skills in a general population. This project will adapt the model specifically to build English language proficiency in ELL students. Students will receive 24 hours of arts instruction each year (12 in each art form) through an inquiry-based approach that meets state and local standards and helps develop their physical, emotional, and intellectual capacities. Teachers, artists, art specialists and administrators will build understanding of student learning in and through the arts to improve their practice and help students build knowledge across learning domains.

DELLTA will result in six study units – three in each art form; a professional development guide outlining the methods, protocols and resources used in the project; and a research report by Dr. Rob Horowitz of Teachers College, Columbia University that will document and quantify the impact of the project on the schools, students, teachers and ArtsConnection.

Grantee Name: School District of Pittsburgh
Project Address: Manchester Craftsman Guild
1815 Metropolitan Street
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15233
Project Director: Joanna Papada
(412) 322-1773

The School District of Pittsburgh (PPS), in collaboration with the internationally recognized arts and learning center Manchester Craftsmen's Guild (MCG), submits this proposal to implement a three-year Greater Arts Integration (GAIN) initiative at Columbus Middle School, one of the district’s middle schools in most dire need for innovative services.

The GAIN vision is to create a wholly arts-integrated middle school that demonstrates, through rigorous scientifically based evaluation, school processes and outcomes that lead to high student achievement and high teacher and administrator efficacy. GAIN’s mission is to employ the arts as a central instructional and curricular mechanism for engaging the school in curriculum planning, interdisciplinary teaming and instruction, job-embedded and off-site professional development, and student-based cooperative and experiential learning. Our initiative will be guided by the following goals:

Goal #1: To improve student performance;
Goal #2: To increase teacher and administrator efficacy; and
Goal #3: To demonstrate the efficacy of our arts integration model through the implementation of quasi-experimental formative and summative evaluation techniques.

Anticipated project outcomes: the number of students who improved their academic performance on standardized achievement tests will increase; the number of students achieving a 3.0 grade point average or better will increase; the number of students who have unexcused absences will decrease; the number of students who received in-school or out-of-school suspensions will decrease; teachers will gain skills in developing and implementing arts-integrated lesson plans; teachers will gain hands-on experience that broadens their understanding of how the creation of art can build both basic and critical thinking skills; administrators will gain skills in fostering arts-integrated learning environments; and GAIN program status will be systematically communicated to program planners, including collection of data and dissemination of information in support of best school reform practices in urban school settings.

Grantee Name: Houston Independent School District
Project Address: 10626 Atwell
Houston, Texas 77096-3660
Project Director: Carol Kehlenbrink
(713) 726-3634

A Fine Arts program was established at Cynthia Ann Parker Elementary School in the Houston Independent School District in 1974 with a focus on instrumental music. In the three decades that have passed the program has received great acclaim and many honors. The Parker community has changed greatly during this time, and the staff has continually evaluated its arts program to expand and modify it to meet the needs of the families that it serves. The original focus was on classical music with an electrical guitar component to appeal to the music of the time. As the community evolved to include growing numbers of, first, African American families and, now, Hispanic families, the musical focus also evolved. Electrical guitars were dropped, and a Jazz Band was added.

Two important changes have had great impact on the program. Now, every Parker student participates in the arts program. The program now includes three choirs. A visual arts teacher and the physical education teacher bring art and dance into the program. The classroom teachers work with the arts teachers to involve students in theater productions. This project will allow the staff to have the means and opportunity to further enhance the arts areas beyond music. Funds will be used to provide assistance from experts to integrate more fully the arts into the academic program.

Grantee Name: Project Grad Houston
Project Address: 6700 West Loop South, Suite 500
Houston, Texas 77401
Project Director: Roy C. Hughes
(832) 325-0311

Studies in neuroscience indicate that early and systematic learning in music and the visual arts results in increased academic performance. Other studies show that the availability of fine arts programs helps reduce student dropout rates. FAME is based on research that demonstrates that the arts should be a core academic subject, one that is as important to education as English, math, history, geography, and science.

In 1999, Project GRAD introduced FAME in the six elementary schools within the Jefferson Davis High School Feeder Pattern in the Houston Independent School District. Aligned with national and state-mandated requirements, FAME provides students with a comprehensive and sequential foundation of knowledge in the visual arts, as well as in general and instrumental music. FAME fine arts students consistently outperform comparison students who have not been involved in the FAME Program in both reading and math on the Stanford Achievement Test.

Funds from this grant would allow Project GRAD to increase the level and intensity of fine arts experiences for elementary students, implement FAME at the middle level, and produce a middle school arts program implementation manual as a companion to the elementary program implementation manual. The elementary manual will be updated and revised and both posted on the Internet to allow for wider and more cost effective dissemination to schools across the United States.

FAME will: (1) enhance, expand, document, evaluate, and disseminate its innovative research-based model that has demonstrated its effectiveness in integrating standards-based arts education into the core curriculum, (2) strengthen standards-based arts instruction, and (3) improve the academic performance of students, including their skills in creating, performing, and responding to the arts. It serves only elementary school and middle school grades and is linked to local, State, and national standards. It will serve six elementary schools and one middle school for a total of 4,317 students.

FAME will be evaluated using a quasi-experimental research design that compares students from FAME schools with students from Project GRAD schools that do not have the FAME Program.

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Last Modified: 08/30/2006